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New Snow Set to Cause Further Havoc on Roads

The meteorological bureau of central China's Hunan Province on Friday warned that further heavy snow and road icing had increased the risks of road travel.

Snow fell in 13 counties and cities, including Jishou, Changde, Yiyang, Yueyang and Chenzhou on Thursday night and Friday morning. Ningxiang county recorded the most snow, at 16 millimeters.

The cold spell continued to wreak havoc in most parts of the province. In Changning County, the ice on power cables was six centimeters thick.

The Hunan section of the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway, the country's key north-south trunk road, was paralyzed by ice, leaving tens of thousands of vehicles and people stranded for days in the cold winter.

The bureau said temperatures on all the highways in the province were below freezing, and warned traffic delays could get worse.

Unusual cold, heavy snow, sleet and icy rain have combined to hit 17 provinces and regions in central and southern China in the past two weeks.

More than 77.8 million people had been affected by Monday afternoon. The Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Wednesday that 38 had been killed by collapsed roofs, slips and drowning since January 10.

Dozens of others had died in snow-related traffic accidents, according to reports from various provinces.

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2008)

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